Monday, December 31, 2012

Reflecting Back and Looking Forward

Lamentations 3: 22-24  ​​Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, ​​Because His compassions fail not. ​​They are new every morning; ​​Great is Your faithfulness. ​​“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, ​​“Therefore I hope in Him!”

2012 - What a year, but as I reflect I am thankful for the Lord's mercies in so many ways.

Thinking back over the year.....

January -We are just past our 30th anniversary in Dec and we begin the new year with Glenn going to the doctor to find out why he wasn't feeling well, thought maybe it was gallbladder or an ulcer, decided we'd eliminate the ulcer by trying a few weeks of Previcid. We put down a small deposit, planning to go on the bi-annual cruise with everybody from church and  finally I flew to Alaska to spend time with Whitney while Jeremy was deployed, that was a wonderful trip!! Alaska was beautiful, covered with more snow that they had seen in a very long time, I loved it... in spite of the very short daylight hours, lol. The time with Whitney was a lot of fun and I enjoyed getting to know my newest bonus child better. Came back home just in time for Cecilia to turn 2. 
February - A bit mellower month, A couple big things but a bit more indirect than direct... Jeremy got home early from his deployment to Kuwait and at the end of the month, Crystle and Andrew let us know that they were expecting baby number three.
    Glenn went back in to the doctor at the very end of the month and they set him up for an ultrasound. He had dropped about 15 pounds since the start of the year

March - What a month!  We found out the 14th of March that our new journey in life was about to begin, Glenn had been diagnosed with cancer, and on the 30th the full battle began. We had the upper hand though, God is on our side and we are following His direction. (weight at this time 207.)
       On the lighter side, shortly after her 24th birthday, Amber got to go on the missions trip to Romania- on the surface some people may have thought the timing off- but we know that with God in charge there isn't any such thing, He knew what we were going to be facing long before we did, and He even had someone over there that would be a blessing to our little Faith Warrior while she was there... my little girl loves that country.
April - A busy month, adjusting to the new normal in our lives, (which I didn't know at the time would be changing constantly for quite a while.) A normal, that was including weekly visits to the local oncology clinic for Glenn's doctor appointments, and chemo treatments. Glenn's weight continued to drop.
       April also brought with it, Easter, with all it's activities, the church program and candy hunt for the  kids and of course it also meant the grandkids coming and having an Easter Egg Hunt in Grandma and Papa's front yard. 
      Toward the end of the month was Presbytery at church, and that was a good time, we were very blessed by it, and able to attend most of the services. It helped us gear up for the path ahead on the immediate, and also help remind us that God has a future for US. We continued forward in the battle and trusting the Lord that Glenn's healing is coming.
     A good report here- Glenn prayed for his dad's bladder cancer to be gone, and when they did his check... it was!! (and has stayed that way!)
         Crystle turned 29... is it possible that we are now the parents of a child that old?? LOL yep.

 May - We had seen some positive things in Glenn's bloodwork that were good signs, but there were still some things that were bothering the doctor about the numbers, so at the end of the month he orders Glenn's next CT for June.
          Our baby boy Jacob, turned 20 in May, not only do we have a 29 year old but now we are parents of all 20-somethings, time has flown by. 
        Jeremy and Whitney came down to visit, we really enjoyed it, but it was a tough time as Glenn's energy was waning badly at this time. We all went over to the coast for a day and had a lot of fun. Glenn's being more tired made room for Jake and Jeremy to spend some time together while they were here, it gave them some bonding time that was good.

June - We got to see Olivia dance in her first recital and then a couple weeks later- her 4th birthday, she's getting so big!
        Glenn had his CT and the doctor made an abrupt change to his Chemo, the 1st type had ceased working, and by the end of the month Glenn was down to 154 pounds. In spite of how weak he was feeling a lot of the time, he only missed 2 or 3 church services. In May, to make sure he got to attend service we would go upstairs when we got there, so he could lay down, but still be in church to hear the word. 

July - July had a bumpy start, Glenn was at his lowest point and it was rough! But again, the Lord knew the timing of everything... The annual family campout was the week of July 4th, and thanks to Glenn's family, and Siskiyou RV letting us use a 5th wheel, we got to attend. That week was a turning point for Glenn, we needed the change of scenery- it allowed us time to be alone or with all the family. The alone time was spent, listening to the Word, praying and having many hours of heart to heart talks. It was also when the Lord gave us the next step in getting Glenn better, we started tracking his eating, every morsel! By the end of the month he had gained 10-12 pounds and was feeling better.

August - August was a good month, we saw Glenn regaining weight and energy. The end of the month we went to the coast for a couple days to celebrate our birthdays... Glenn had hit his and in March I don't know that the doctor would have put any bets on his getting to it. Glenn committed to being back up on worship twice a month, victories!

September - Glenn is looking better on all levels, and the doctor has ordered the next CT... it was a fantastic report! The cancer retreated in a big way!!! Glenn's strength is returning, enough so, that he was able to do some golfing with Jake... and some really exciting news- grandbaby #4 is on the way!! Jeremy and Whitney announced that they are expecting!! Yep, it was a very good month.

October - God is faithful! Glenn is feeling good enough to go with the kids and grandkids to the Pumpkin Patch... something that didn't happen last year, because he didn't feel good. We were blessed by some very special friends with tickets to the Newsboys Concert, fun!! To top it all off, at the end of the month we were signing papers on a new home, that is perfect for our needs. We are thankful at how the Lord is sustaining us through this battle!!  

November - We are so blessed! The whole family that is here in the area came together at Glenn's parents for Thanksgiving Dinner, Glenn ate 2 plates and thought about a 3rd... that's way more than last year! We moved into our new home, thank you oodles to the friends from church that helped with the furniture! When the music meeting for Candlelight was held... Glenn was there, he was making sure that he was a part of it. Walk by faith and take back ground. More victories. 

December - Christmas decorations went up, Glenn put some lights up but couldn't go all "Clark Griswold" like he would have liked to, but they did go up. (I insisted that Jake be the one on the ladder though.) We all got together at our old house (Amber's place at the moment.) Glenn got a bonus week between Chemo treatments so he was off of Chemo on Christmas week, yeah!! We had a family dinner with the whole family that was at Thanksgiving plus a couple more of our nephews. Glenn did his usual and took over in the kitchen, the good side, he felt up to it, the bad side... he wasn't supposed to take over, just make the gravy... he just can't help himself, lol. It was a wonderful day with the family.
     We quietly celebrated our 31st anniversary and are planning with the Lord's help to see many more.
     Today, New Years Day it was back to Chemo... and when he stepped on the scale there it was also back to 207 pounds... where we were 9 and a half months ago- Praise God!!

It's been an amazing year, challenging, stretching, growing, and yet very blessed! We continue to press into the full healing for Glenn, and along the way facing the challenges that arrive and celebrating the victories. Most of all we have learned to thank God for every day, enjoying each one for the blessing that it is.

Heading into 2013- Glenn is taking a big step to what the Lord has called him to do, he will begin teaching the 'Biblical Healing' class at church January 13th.

To you and yours... A Very Happy and Blessed 2013!!!

If you want more details on the cancer battle can read my earlier blogs where I go more in depth.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

31 years....... is that all?

31 years ago, yep, it was Dec 27th 1981 that I married my best friend...

I was just thinking back over the last 3 decades... I am very blessed! We have been walking with the Lord for 30+ years of our 31 together, my family and friends are amazing... yes I am blessed.

Have the last 3+ decades been easy... no, lol. We like most everyone have had our ups and downs over the years, but have I ever regretted the decision I made on July 10, 1981 when I accepted Glenn's proposal? Absolutely not.

We have run the gambit on our adventures... maybe not so adventurous to some, but they are our life and experiences together. Once we made it through the first year, I think we both knew that we could get through anything together.

There were those that thought that this 'Pollyanna' from 'Leave it to Beaver' land was a complete misfit in a relationship with a long haired rock and roll drummer. I was a conservative kid from a conservative traditional 1950's style family (mom home, dad working and both involved in the community). Then there was Glenn, a musician (drummer no less), a wild child (who had gotten busted with my brother at a DeMolay campout for alcohol)... basically as Rush Limbaugh would have dubbed him "a pot smoking hippie" type. Fortunately my parents took the time to get to know this skinny kid that kept showing up at their door almost every day, and they trusted my judgement. My brother wasn't so sure he wanted me dating this guy, after all he knew him better than I did at that point... and since Brad had gotten saved, he didn't want 'that' kind of influence around his sister. But, he kept his mouth shut. My parents watched carefully how we acted around each other, and more importantly how Glenn treated me, and they knew from his actions how he felt. They were so sure that they delayed a big decision in their own lives until after Glenn and I were married, because it was to involve a move and they didn't want to do that to me at that point. I am forever grateful to them. It isn't until we have children of our own that we really understand what it is to sacrifice.

We have been blessed with 4 amazing kids... perfect, lol- no, but amazing, yes. Over the years they have brought us joy, smiles, laughter, pride of their accomplishments... all mixed with a bit of frustrations, angry moments, and those times that it took all not to wring their darling necks. But I look at them now, and I can say that I am very proud of the adults they have become, they all love the Lord and are serving Him. They have honestly made me look at them and think- yeah, it was all worth it, no matter how hard it got. I am thankful everyday that the Lord trusted us to raise them, children really are a gift and a responsibility- they are a challenge, but if you rise to meet it, discipline with love and consistency, raise them in the house of the Lord, and live what you speak... it is worth it all!  I have snippet memories of conversations with each of my children from over the years that I believe will always stay with me, I cherish them in my heart!

Over the years of our marriage, we have traveled some... not as extensively as some but we have had the opportunity to go to New York (my first plane ride, lol), Hawaii, Texas, Arizona, 2 cruises to Mexico, Disneyland with kids twice, quite a few trips to Las Vegas and many getaways to the Reno/Tahoe area (only one of our favorite places in the world), plus lots of trips to Washington, camping with the family in various places and then we've both been to Alaska at separate times- the plan at this time is that we go up there together in June for the arrival of the next grandbaby. And then next fall another trip to San Antonio since Jacob is planning on following Jeremy into the Air Force and we will want to be there for BMT Graduation.

Like so many we faced the typical challenges of life, the ups and downs in the family income, moving, job changes, family things (including the loss of my mom)...  but all that was nothing to what 2012 brought. The last year has probably been more challenging than any of our marriage, but through it, we have grown closer in our walk with the Lord and in our life with each other. We appreciate each day in a way like never before, and we appreciate each other more... I am so thankful for the gift that the Lord gave me when He brought Glenn into my life.

Who we are is the sum of our life experiences, and most of the time, I'm good with that... are there some things I wish I'd done different? Yes don't we all? What I can say is that through it all, we have done our best, with the Lord's help to live up to the vows we took 31 years ago tomorrow. 

To each one that reads this, cherish your spouse, your children, your friends, and if He isn't already a part of your life... add God into the picture, trust me, giving your life to Him is the best decision you could ever make. With out Him, I know my life would have a very different look to it at this point.  Make the most of your life and don't ever waste precious time on regrets.

Have a wonderful rest of 2012 and a very blessed 2013!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

What Are You Pondering This Christmas?

Luke 2:19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them  in her heart.

Pondering... the definition of the word is; To weigh in the mind with thoroughness and care.

I think we all ponder things, our lives, marriages, jobs, and of course our children... but think about, ponder if you will, what Mary had to ponder on...

Imagine, giving birth to a child, in a stable- a cave really and then to have the events that followed soon after take place. Shepherds coming in from out in the fields... taking time off of work to go to the Christ Child. Then these shepherds told her how the angels had come to them and told them the Savior of the world had been born. Then the Wise Men, who had traveled from from very far away, show up. They, being guided only by a Star and the and a Prophesy about the Messiah- Matt 2:6 ‘​But you, Bethlehem,in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; ​For out of you shall come a Ruler ​Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ... They, who were used to receiving honor, show up at this very humble place you are staying, and worship this tiny baby. Wow, that's intense! The Bible tells us that Mary pondered all the things spoken to her about her newborn son. Yeah, I can see where you might do that, ponder those things, that is... 

At this time of year especially, with lives that are hectic and crazy with preparations of celebration, do we take time to ponder the Christ Child? This child that was born so long ago for one purpose... to take upon Him the sins of the world. He came to this earth, small, helpless, and of humble beginnings. His parents had to seek the Lord's direction on where to go, what to do and how to train him... Just as we all should for our children. Thankfully they lived surrendered lives, not necessarily perfect, because they like us were born with a fallen nature, but Jesus, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit was not, His was a life that though it started with a birth like any of us, was significantly different.

None of us are parenting a child with the call that Jesus had, but we should all be pondering the call that is on our children's lives. We need to take to heart what it says in Proverbs 22:6 - Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. We need to be willing to take the time to hear the voice of the Lord and follow His guiding in the rearing of our children, and teaching them to listen for His voice. Teaching them to ponder the Christ Child and to learn from His life, teachings and examples.

Instilling within them the "Follow me as I follow Christ" heart. Showing them that consistency that comes from being the same no matter where we are; work, home, church. Or what we find ourselves facing, good times or not so good... God is still God, He is there for us at all times... through that we can have peace in our lives no matter what is going on. 

So take a moment from the craziness, and ponder the Child that we should be honoring with this holiday. Reflect the gift of our Heavenly Father to those around us... when you give a gift, think of His. Enjoy your Christmas, the family, the presents, the love... spread the heart of the season in all you do.

And remember to ponder...................

Merry CHRISTmas!!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Christmas Gift

Matthew 2:11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Those gifts, brought to a small child so long ago were brought to bless the child who would grow to become the Savior of the world. The tradition of giving gifts at Christmas today, for many of us, reflects the gifts of the Magi to Jesus.

As a result of this, at this time of year a big question, hmmm, what can I give to ________? (fill in the blank) I asked Glenn a little while back what he wanted for Christmas, his comment... I don't need material things. Just being here is enough. 

You know, we've both said this kind of thing over the years, many people who have children have done with out at least one Christmas and for some it's been many-- this year though it's not said out of the need to spend elsewhere, but from the heart of a man who simply is thankful to be here. I am so blessed to have this man in my life, he was my 2 day late Christmas present 31 years ago. (Yep our anniversary is Dec 27th)

This year has been one that has truly given us reason to reflect on many things. When you are facing something like cancer, you really do re-prioritize things... you really don't sweat the small stuff any more.  A couple years back when Glenn's dad was diagnosed with bladder cancer he showed us a medallion that he wears, it has three letters IDM... it doesn't matter. That's where the small stuff rates, it doesn't matter.

This is something we've come to understand more fully this year, the small stuff will be what it's gonna be, no point in wasting the energy of stressing it. Focus on the important things, family, friends and most importantly for us, doing what the Lord wants us to do. In the midst of all of this, we want to be found doing, being good and faithful servants... that is our gift of worship to the Lord. He cared enough for us to send His son, whose birth we are celebrating, to become the sacrifice upon the cross for our sins, sicknesses and infirmities.

It is through that gift, that I have my Christmas present, my husband, the man I have loved for over 3 decades, and whom I believe that I will have for years to come, through the healing that God is working in Him. We have a lot of things we still want to do, both in working for the Lord,  and fun stuff too, so we continue to press and praise and be thankful for the gift of each day together.

May the Lord bless you all with an amazing Christmas!! I know ours will be the best ever!

...... and yes, I still want to get him something to put under the tree. :) 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bumpy Days

Isaiah 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; 'For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.' "

Bumpy Days, that's what I call them because they remind me of driving over bumps in the road. They are those days that for one reason or another have bumpy patches in them. Sometimes it's as simple as my thoughts running the wrong direction and overtaking my emotions-- it doesn't even have to be for a long period, just 5 minutes of dropped focus can wreck havoc on me.

Other days it may be something quite major... such as last March, or June when things were very dark. Often it may be just one of those days when things are just a tad off, maybe Glenn is feeling more tired or tasks to get done begin to overwhelm me. 

They aren't always related to the current battle we are in, I think we all have bumpy days and most of the time we all get through them and move on without issue- that's a good thing. They come in all shapes and sizes, custom for each of us-- A bad day at work, or for a young mom it may be a day that the kids are all going crazy and taking you with them.

Every once in a while one hits that knocks us, as I said, maybe not a slam down, but hard enough that we feel it, we know we've hit a personal bump! If you find yourself having one of those days then remember- take a moment, pause, draw a deep breath and BREATHE! Remember the Lord is there, when you are His child, in Hebrews 13:5 we are reminded that He has said:  "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

I am thankful that I can turn to the Lord for all things, and yes, especially on the bumpy days. We are blessed to live in a day and age that we can be immersed into high quality worship at the push of a button. I love that I can bath my spirit in this and pour my heart out to God in prayer, praise and worship... and through that, I see things change. The bumps will always show up, but through God, the biggest mountain, followed by a deep canyon can become just a small speed bump, that we can get over by giving them to Him.

I remember the first time I heard the song; The Warrior Is a Child... I loved it then and it is dear to me now, because it speaks to the heart of this... in the heat of the battle we have a place we can go... Home to our Heavenly Father.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Perspective Is Everything

Matt 7:7-11 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

I started going through a Christmas devotional this week, and the beginning days of it are talking of Zacharias and Elizabeth-- if you ever need an example of how to be patient before the Lord, well these two are good ones!! 

Am I the only one that struggles with the 'please, NOW' issue? I think a part of present day society is the "I want it now!" attitude. No matter how fast the processor is on our computer- it's too slow; If we have to wait 5 minutes to check out at the store, we get grumpy. (Worse still when we are waiting for coffee or food.)

Sometimes we need to look at our lives, be thankful for the things we have been blessed with. To be honest I want Glenn to see his full healing now, but that doesn't change the fact that I am thankful for where he is right now!! 6 months -it is such a short time, and yet at the same time, in our world it is a lifetime ago, Glenn was at such a low point, that even now to look back at it is strange. We appreciate each day of life we have together like never before. That being said, I have to verbally, yes out loud, remind myself... trust, have faith, it's God's timing not mine, and in the meantime, work the field that we find ourselves in. Showing His love and our joy in living lives in Him. All in all, it's not a long time... if you put things in perspective.

Consider this... the children of Israel had been waiting 400 years for God to begin speaking to them again,  imagine, 400 years!! Then, Zacharias was the one blessed with being the first one to hear from Him, and better yet, it was regarding his own family- he was going to be a dad!! Amazing, awesome, wonderful... and oh yeah, then he couldn't speak for like 9-12 months.

Add to that his wife Elizabeth, barren for all the years of their marriage. Imagine wanting a child and unable to conceive, and in that society that valued children, that was something that people longed for. Imagine the great joy upon the fulfillment of that miracle, a child born and a son! At last, and a child that was to grow up to have his own amazing role in history... declaring to the people of Israel the coming of the Messiah.

What struck me in looking at these two today was that when we are seeking an answer to a prayer- be patient! The Lord is Good! He loves us, we need to know that He will answer our prayers, and we then need to trust in the answer He gives, and even in the timing of receiving that answer... He knows what we are to learn in the wait, we don't. What parent gives their small child the hot chocolate as soon as it's ready, with out waiting for it to cool a bit- so the little one won't be scalded. We let our child know, they will get it as soon as it is time, they are learning to wait, there is a reason for the waiting, and they may not understand it at the time, but as they grow they will.

In saying all this, I am reminded once again to be thankful and patient, that is a sign of faith and trust in God... and that's a good thing!